The ancient nuns hovered like gargoyles as he undressed the body, revealing the nubile curves of a dark-haired, teenage girl — a girl dead now one-hundred and fifty years from tuberculosis, but by all appearances merely asleep. There was no pallor of death, the skin was pink and pliant. There was none of the usual signs of embalmment. Hers was a perfect angel’s face, cupid’s bow lips, just a hint of a smile, perfectly at peace.

The order had ruled out a thorough autopsy of the saint, but had agreed to a scientific, impartial examination by a physician to counter claims raised by an atheistic group that she was merely a wax effigy used to dupe the faithful.

The physician let his fingers linger about the swells of her breasts. She was so pretty, his heart ached with pity for her, locked in a display case, venerated and gawked at. Now only he and a few of the sisters selected for the task had seen her innocent nakedness.

“Well?” The abbess thrust out her lower lip. “She is perfect, is she not? And virginal?”

“The hymen is present and intact. But what if it were not, Reverend Mother?”


© 2015 R.E. Buckley. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

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